In 2012, in association with the research agency Ipsos, Crédit Agricole Assurances decided to launch the first observatory of European attitudes to risk in order to understand, among other things, the ways in which the economic crisis that has hit Europe since 2008 has transformed people’s perceptions and expectations of the future.
This observatory is open to students and researchers of social sciences, to players involved in European construction whether politicians, civil servants or think tanks and to public opinion specialists and the media. We hope it will enable them to see Europeans’ state of mind from a new angle, one that has been little used to date, and gain a better understanding of both our shared points and our differences.
More generally, it is for any European seeking a better understanding of his European cousins, who will be able to view from another perspective – that of how they behave with regard to risk – thereby discovering facets that are more intimate, more cultural and probably more ‘human’ than those revealed by the usual social and economic data.
Why ‘risk’? Because the subject is highly revelatory: particularly during periods of crisis or recovery when people are faced with difficulties or opportunities as the case may be. It measures Europeans’ state of mind, their hopes and their fears. It shows how Europeans protect themselves, how they prepare themselves, how they close up or how they rebound during this crisis period, and for some, are able to continue their way without danger. Peoples’ attitudes to risk are very revealing, not only of European morale but also of the social energy in each member state in this age of globalisation.
From a more political point of view, the theme of risk reveals the interaction, in each country and in each population category, between personal choices and collective solutions. For instance, according to the risk envisaged, do they prefer to take their own individual precautions – by saving for example – or do they prefer to contribute to a wider system of solidarity: family, private or public?
Attitudes to risk is an ambivalent theme with many different dimensions. For this reason we believe any study needs to have a sufficiently wide scope (seven countries), be in depth and designed for long-term use. This is why it needs to be discussed, interpreted in different ways from different points of view: academic, political and media. We plan to call on these points of view regularly.
Do people feel exposed? Vulnerable? Properly protected? Protected by what? Do these feelings differ from one country to another? Do they change from one year to the next? Does the social and economic crisis influence this feeling and if so in what way?
After a first survey carried out in 2012, Crédit Agricole Assurances asked Ipsos to carry out a second wave to examine the changes in European attitudes to a list of 17 risks: losing their jobs, illness, divorce, being burgled, encountering financial difficulties, etc. In this way we shall have an annual barometer, showing the changes and linking them to social and economic conditions.
In 2015, a further wave of the study was conducted from 12 to 22 May 2015, on representative samples of the national populations of seven key EU countries (France, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, Italy, Poland and Sweden), making a total of 7,000 respondents.
In 2013, the survey was conducted online from 1st to 30 July on representative samples of the national populations of the same seven European countries, for a total of 7,021 respondents.
In 2015: the rise of the sharing economy. Is it just a short-term phenomenon or a deep-rooted trend? What initiatives are being taken and in what types of services?
In 2013: the social protection: the model in place and the trust placed in it by both beneficiaries and contributors. Does it function properly? Should it be reformed?
Our aim was to make all the survey data accessible, by grouping it all on this new website.
Europe’s leading bancassurer, Crédit Agricole Assurances operates in France, Italy – its second largest market – Germany, Ireland, Poland and Luxembourg as well as in Japan.
Our business is to protect people and their property, including savings and retirement schemes. Crédit Agricole Assurances draws on the efficiency of one of Europe’s largest banking networks, Crédit Agricole group. Some 50,000 are in contact with 51 million customers and involved in helping them carry out their projects. That is why we have become the leading bancassurer.
As an insurance specialist, our commitment is to respond as appropriately as possible to social issues as they are felt in our customers’ daily lives, at the level of each individual. For this reason, understanding our customers’ sensitivity to the various risks is essential for our staff, whether with a view to defining our products and services or for anticipating customers’ needs.
As a corporate citizen, we believe it essential to share our work with the scientific community and ask for its views, as part of a dialogue that we hope will be sincere and lasting.
As protection against risks and insurance are intimately linked, this barometer on European attitudes to risks provides a particularly interesting insight, in these times of crisis, into the different views that prevail in each of the countries that were surveyed. For Crédit Agricole Assurances as Europe’s N°1 bank insurance company, it also provides a genuine roadmap for its activities, by suggesting new offerings to be developed in response to what are sometimes new needs among the clients of the Crédit Agricole Group, and in particular of the Crédit Agricole Regional Banks and LCL in France.
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